tv [untitled] January 30, 2012 10:30pm-11:00pm EST
receive as seniors at this point in time. we are not cutting a penny. we are going to keep the system we have today and for future generations as well. >> i would like to draw the attention of honorable members to the minister of energy for alberta. >> now a national association of secretaries of state convention on the 2012 presidential nominating calendar and elections preparations. you'll hear remarks from represe representatives from the department of the justice and postal service. this is a little over three hours. >> thank you, secretary reed. the first presenter today is jane could be who serve z
although the relatively new director of i civics created by stand dra day o'connor, who was the recipient of our very own nass margaret chase smith award a couple of years ago. prior to his current role, he was a fellow for the berkman center for internet and society at harvard where he invested the impact of technology and the internet on legal education and studied the enter section of video games and moral development. he helped to found legal aid university and provides training for professional development for poverty lawyers across the nation. he holds a b.a. in social studies from harvard university and awe juryist from law school. we expected them to speak for the committee about i sifblgs which is a curriculum in many of
our states, a number of teachers in others are using this curriculum in their government and civics classes. secretary chapman and i serve as chairs in our states in local committees that are working closely with our supreme courts and judicial system and others to advance the use of justice o'connor's initiatives. we're very pleased to have mr. koo here, and please join me in welcoming for his presentation. thank you very much. >> they have the knowledge and skills for intelligent citizenship. it's so important for us as we
talk today about voter engagement to think about how do we prepare young people, tomorrow's voters, to be not just capable of voting but being able to do sbelgtsly and in an engaged way where they're participating in american democracy and really working together for -- to advance our nation in our individual states and communities. i don't think it would be as surprised as folks in room who are really paying attention to politics and to the way people are engaging in politics, that there are a lot of folks participating in the political system who aren't terribly well educated about how our system of government works. that we have three branches of government, for example, and how they interrelate to each other and how many supreme court justices there might be in any given moment in time. there's actual research that backs up the fact that tomorrow's voters, today's young people, are significantly lacking in information and
knowledge about the way that their government works. the most recent national assessment of he is occasional progress in civics showed 80% of high school seniors are lacking proficiency in civic knowledge. that's a very, very high number. because these are high school seniors, we're talking about literally today's voters as of right now from 2010. we've gotten to this point it's kind of the history goes on for a long time. if you look back at where it all started with public education, really the original purpose of public education was to create citizens, and those of you that are familiar with own state constitutions would know that 40 of the state constitutions actually cite the importance of civic literacy in the constitution itself and 14 specifically identify civic education as the primary purpose of public schools. we have a very strong and
storied history of civic education as the basis of our educational system, and you can and what happened? how do we arrive at this point where 80% of high school seniors lack proficiency? quite a bit has happened. i think probably one thing is that we've taken civic education for granted, so in the last 10, 20 years as other priorities come up in terms of science, technology, math, english, as we know those are the subjects tested for which funding is tied. so other subjects in the social studies and arts have fallen by the wayside. i don't think it's for lack or interest or concern that civic education has fallen away. it's more that we haven't thought about it and maybe take it for granted. another thing is happening, and that's that simply providing civic education is not enough. it's really important to provide good civic education keeping up
with the times, really being aware of how our kids are learning today, how do we engage them today. what's interesting, exciting, fun r for them to be part of it. the recent survey of the field of civic education and concluded that the majority of the k-12 students learn by citizenship by read being it in a textbook and filling in worksheets and basically listening to their he teacher's lecture. as all of you know, the best way to get interested and engaged in civic education is to get involved and to learn about how does the national and state and local government pertain to you as a young person, as an adult, and to be very practical about it. it's not just enough that we for example start testing kids on civics, although that is the kind of thing that's happening in states around the u.s. like florida. but to figure out how to make
sure that civic education is relevant to our young people. they see it as something important. it's as exciting as we all believe it is, that democracy is something they can participate in and believe in. so as secretary richie earlier stated, i civics was founded by justice sandra day o'connor up soon after she stepped off the bench and very briefly in terms of how she got started she looked around and realized there were really strong, very vociferous and ungrounded attacks on the court system in the u.s. the courts really don't have anybody to stand up for them. they don't do their own p.r. or have a lot of outreach. she realized that if this continued it would threaten the judicial independence of our court system. so they asked around, what with we do? people pointed to the decline of civic education as a basic fundamental reason why there was
so much ignorance about what courts do or don't do. she decided to dig deeper in some of the brain trust of folks and assemble them at the supreme court and ask about thinking about how to educate young people, what can we do? how can we he had kalt them in a way that is better? over whelmingly we have to be where the kids are today and where the kids are today aren't necessarily textbooks and worksheets. where they are today is that 97% of american teenagers play video games. as those of you with teenagers would know, they spend an average of at least 44 hours in a week in front of a tv or computer screen or some other kind of digital device. that's where the kids are. we took a big leap of faith and said, well, this is where civic education needs to be. we did a call out for some of the leaders in the educational field of educational technology, educational video games and said, this is what we need to
do. we need to make democracy and the participation in democracy as exciting as any of these did. we created video games that are fun, exciting, engaging. i wish we could do the video screen here today because i share some of the games with you, but i encourage you all to check it out at www.icivics.org. you see all of the games there. we now have 16 games that cover all of the different branches of government and that -- in particular some of the ones that are of specific interest to this conversation. we have one that asks students to think about what values they care about in an election, and then pick candidates that match those values. these are all fictional so that we're staying away from specific candidates right now. but then basically test them. are they matching the way that
they value different public policies against the kind of hypothetical candidates they're voting for in a few years? there's another game we just released about how to run a presidential campaign that teaching about how the electoral college works and how campaigning works. these are two of the many games that we offer that are sfe specifically about electoral engagement. they're catching on, and our games have been played over 3.5 million times since we started because they're really great in a school setting. they're playable in a single class period. they include performance results so that the students and teachers review how they're doing. they're tightly woven with a broader curriculum. we don't just do video games. we offer over 50 lesson plans to put together and teach essentially an entire semester's worth of civics and they're fun because they're real games. we work really hard with game
developers to make sure these are actually bonified games and not just kind of quizzes with pictures and lights and sounds to make it seem more fun. these are games that we get feedback from kids all the time that we expose the games from classes and go home and continue playing them and we get notes from parents say we have to pull our games away from the computer and get them to bed at night. this is something successful. it's successful in the preliminary research and it shows that our games are improvements civic knowledge and retention by anywhere from 15% on up, and that actually scores when you do both our games and lessons are up almost 50%. so so we're being effective in terms of how many people are out there playing our games and also how much kids are learning. but all of this starts with
schools and schools that are emphasizing physical education and that's where i work together with you to think about how to make sure that civic education gets the attention and resources it deserves so we can preserve democrat stee for the next generation and generations to come. we're doing what we can. we make sure that our resources are absolutely free and you can go as a teacher and get to our games and get to all the lesson plans and there's no charge for any of them. but we -- and they're also aligned to all the standards in the states, whatever standards you might have. some states have specific requirements for civic education classes. most have interwoven with social studies or other matter. i encourage you to look at how to strengthen those requirements in your state. especially to think about doing it before high school. most of us, at least my experience with civics education, was getting it the last semester of senior year.
i suppose that's right before you go out and vote, but that's when nobody is paying attention to anything. so it's much too late to get to young people. there's a -- we specifically worked with middle school kids and if we could we worked with younger. there's this prime age where when you have teenagers know this, when kids are really, really concerned with justice and fairness, they're favorite quote is that's just not fair. it's a primary opportunity to get them to connect their personality and faemt experiences to their communities and then from the communities to the state and beyond. at a point when they're still not quite cynical about the way the word wold works and are ope all these things. i encourage you to look at how we can strengthen our state's standards in civics, especially for younger students at a point
when they're particularly open to learning about how all of this works. also, of course, as secretary richie mentioned we had state leadership meetings which include himself and secretary chapman. i encourage you to join our team as well to think about how to advance civic education and then specifically how to get more students -- i'm sorry. more schools to be aaware of the free resources we offer to help teachers teach these subject-to-subject matter in a more effective and engaging and fun way. again, i'm sorry that i can't share with you some of the visuals of the games. i'd be very, very happy to speak with you individually or show you the games. i brought some with me. or to answer any questions later on. i want to thank you all for anything each of you is doing to advance democracy at large but also democratic education and how young people learn to become citizens and to become not just citizens but smart, engaged and active citizens.
thank you. >> thank you, mr. wilgen. >> i know there will be a few questions, and i just want to say in minnesota our chief justice of on our supreme court has been one of the main drivers. i think that's been true in other states as well. the international cor arate cou in and became very active, and we have teechlers from third grade up into college making use of these. so we know it can be used for a very wide range of our young leaders and young citizens as they're growing up up. are there any questions about i civic ors in general? secretary, please speak into the microphone. thank you. frsz. >> not from what -- i guess a question from the standpoint -- i'm secretary condose from vermont. one of the things we have found and as a former state senator who chaired the education committee, we struggled with
this issue, and we actually tried to put the civics curriculum back into our department of ed. a lot of their focus, because of budget cuts and whatever over the years and the no child left behind have basically abandoned civics and left it up to the local towns to decide if they wanted to fund it on their own. i think there's some issues there it to relook at from a national level to get it reinstituted. in my state we work with the high schools. over the next couple of weeks do do their interactive learning network that beams out to the schools itself. we had a constitutional amendment change in 2010 that went through that allows 17-year-olds to vote in the
presidential primary if they're 18 by the general election. and the theory is that they ought to have a say in who they're voting on. since it's a primary function, xhs a party issue, it's really -- it was -- we okayed that, and it will pass overwhelmingly 75% to 80%. we also have a poster and essay contest from three different levels to talk about civics and at the grade school it's a poster contest, middle school and high school it's an essay contest. we're trying to partner with the american bar association, the local -- the vermont bar association as well as vermont historical society and league of women voters to find ways to promote civics more. i think there's a lot we can do as a group, but we need help from the federal level. >> well, all of those are wonderful things that are
happening, and i hear about similar things in other states. thank you for sharing that. i do want to say that our primary focus at i civics is providing resources for free to schools, and i hope it will make it easier for systems looking at adding back civics to make it at least somewhat more cost-effective to do so. we're not directly involved in politics ourselves, but we're parngs and work closely for the campaign for the civic mission of schools working at the state and federal level on questions of how to change policy to advance civic education more specifically. so if you're not working with that organization, i would also encourage that as well. >> we've had big use of these resources other questions or
comments? secry brown? no. great. well, thank you so much for coming and being with us today and shares that, and thank you for the work you do in helping us do our jobs. thank you so much. >> i'm matt schultz, secretary of state of iowa, and i'd like to thank secretary richie for being a great partner and working on this economy. i have the pleasure of introducing our next speaker, miss heather smith, who is the current president of rock of vote, a national organization dedicated to political engagement of young people. under heather's direction and leadership during the past two election cycles, rock the vote built new tools for engagement of young voters setting the
highest voter registration record in midterm and presidential elections in the organization's 20-year history. prior to 20-year history. prior to rock the vote, ms. smith founded and directed young voters strategies, a nonpartisan project and partnership with the graduate school of political management at the george washington university. in 2004 she served as national field director for the student prgs, new voters project, the largest nonpartisan grass roots effort ever undertaken to register and mobilize young voters. heather smith received a b.a. with honors in economics and public policy from duke university. now, we have asked heather to come speak to us today, more specifically to talk about how we can have voter outreach with rock the vote and young voters. i would like to -- before she comes up, speak more specifically about the partnership that the state of iowa has put together with rock the vote with the caucuses on january 3rd we had a great event called rock the caucus.
we brought to it a high school in des moines. we had 600 kids there. we actually went out of our way to print t-shirts to make it a more special event for them. and i'll just show you. and so all the kids got a t-shirt. we had michele bachmann, ron paul, rick santorum, and the romney boys all come and speak. it was a great event. and i think it was a great way to show how we can work with groups like rock the vote. and out of that, we have begun a new class in iowa called rock iowa. and we're taking the democracy class from rock the vote and incorporating it with our own iowa education. and if you go to the secretary of state's website, www.sos.iowa.gov you will see on our banner the promotion where we have teachers and home-school groups who can sign up and a
member of our staff will bring this class to different government classes in high schools and home-school groups to discuss this. so we personally have really enjoyed this partnership with heather. i'd just like everybody to join me in welcoming her. thank you. >> thank you so much, matt. secretary schultz and secretary richie, for having me. it was quite a way to spend caucus day this year. you can imagine. we actually called on teachers all across the state of iowa together we promoted this to every high school. we said when the whole country if not the world is watching elections, everyone is thinking and talking about it. let's use this moment to actually prepare our students to participate in it, as well. so we provided free resources on that day to run mock caucuses. they happened at over 25 schools across the state of iowa and
then in west des moines, secretary schultz and i got to guest host the mock caucus and we had over 600 students, over 350 media outlets showed up to live stream and record the work that was being done. and all the candidates who were running for office also showed up. so it was fun for us, but i have to admit that day was also incredibly special for those students. we still are getting actually thank you notes and letters from both the students and the parents saying things like, this is the most incredible day of my life, this was so cool, thank you so much. i promised those young people will be voting this november and most likely be voting for the rest of their lives as a result. so thank you very much for your partnership. for those of you who are unfamiliar with rock the vote, we're a nonpartisan organization dedicated to engaging young people in the political process. we started over 20 years ago. 21 years ago to be exact. by members of the recording industry who wanted to use their voice and their opportunity when
they're speaking to young people turnovered talk to them about civics and political organi organization and democracy. 21 years later we still use that partnership model where we use media partners and with organizations and elections officials like all of you. and we do this to capture these young people as they're turning 18 and make sure they know how to navigate the political process and are prepared and educated to make up their own minds and make sure they have a say in how our democracy runs and to do that effectively. as we enter 2012, we're prepared to run the single largest nonpartisan voter registration campaign in this country. our goal is 1.5 and 2 million new voters we will bring into the process this year. we do this in a series of ways. from teaching these high school programs to running online voter registration drives where they can fill out the form online.
of course in most states they still have to print, sign, and send that in. to going to campuses and communities and setting up tables and encouraging those voters to get involved. we follow up then with information on where to go, what their ballot looks like and everything they might need in order to turn out on election day. but you can learn about all that on rockthevote.com. what i thought would be more useful to this audience today is to take the couple minutes i have to talk about two different opportunities where we might partner together. the first is what we call democracy class. and this is what secretary schultz and i have been working on in iowa. it started a year ago as we were looking for ways to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the 26th amendment which gave 18, 19, and 20-year-olds the right of vote. i just learned that secretary reed was actually on the
organizing committee and co-chaired it in the state of washington when that bill -- >> so i'm old. >> but he actually helped us craft this program last year as we were looking for ways to celebrate it. what we came up with inspired in part from the icivics concept is to provide free materials to the high schools on that day, so mash 23rd, when it was introduce ed to the country. this amendment and give them 100 days to teach their students, that's the length of time to ratify it, teach their students about not only the right to vote but how to use that, get them registered, get them participating. it occurs to us that there's somewhere around 12,000 young people who turn 18 every single day. that's a lot of work for all of us who wake up every morning thinking about how to get them registered and all of you who have to manage elections with those new voters.
if we could figure out systematically how to bring them down to the political process we would have a very different democracy. what if one day once a year we could take 45 minutes and celebrate this right to vote for young people in these high schools before they disperse and teach them about this right to vote and get them registered? so we actually set up this program in every state across the country last year. we had about 3,000 high schools participate in all 50 states, we had on average 30 to 50 kids per classroom and all school events. all told last year, we reached about 1.5 million high school students with our program in between march 23rd and july 4th, getting them registered and educated about voting. as we looked at 2012 we thought, well, that worked really well, let's do that again. this year we're going to continue this program and make it an every year thing. starting on march 23rd each year. we'll call on teachers and support them, bringing this program into their classrooms. there's a couple of things you can do.
i know secretary who actually went into a classroom in ohio last march and was one of the guest teachers. i see secretary bone did the same together and in california, talking to students down there, and we have had plenty of opportunities to actually come in and be the guest teacher in these programs. two, just promote it to the schools in your state. on this day, 26th amendment was introduced, they can get free materials from buttons and t-shirts and videos and lesson plans and everything they will need to teach the class. three, we are actually doing this in schools across the country and would love to partner with all of you and actually bring in some of your stuff in to help us register those voters and collect the forms to ensure they're being processed appropriately. especially in states that require deputization of third-party registrars. fourth, you can partner with us
like secretary schultz is in iowa and come up with creative ways to meet the needs of your state very specifically. we are happy and, of course, very excited to craft those types of programs that work state by state to ensure that these high school students are getting the information that they need, especially this year when they're paying so much attention to it. that is democracy class and that's our high school program. the second opportunity is something that i just want to highlight so it's in the back of your heads. they think it's really innovative and potentially just ground breaking, if we can do this right. rock the vote has an online voter registration tool on our website. it makes it really easy to fill out a form. on the back end we put all of that into a registration form and produce a pdf. the user then has to print it, sign it, and mail it in. we take that little registration tool and we put it on our site but we also make it available to any partner who wants to use it